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Guest Contributor

There was a lot of press in December when Pantone Color Institute decreed Ultra Violet as the 2018 Color of the Year, but that’s only part of the story.

Lou & Grey

The forecasting agency described the spring 2018 palette, which it distilled from the runways, as a “sanctuary of color.” It’s a garden of saturated hues and luscious pastels.

Millennial pink – a blush, slightly coral pink – is going strong across all categories of fashion and accessories. Pinks from pale to fuchsia along with soft blues, lavender and rich chocolate are soothing spring hues, while sea green, tomato red, sunflower yellow, fuchsia, chartreuse and violet are stimulating and uplifting.

Metallics and a variety of greens from pale mint to emerald and olive are also important.

The old rules about color are gone. You’ll see plum and brick fashions this spring and sky blue and yellow next fall. Likewise, the men’s palette goes way beyond traditional blues, grays and browns.

There are always neutrals, and this season they’re represented by ivory, sand, pale dove gray and perennial navy and white.

“Color is a language that expresses what is happening in our culture at a particular moment in time,” Pantone vice president Laurie Pressman told WWD last year. “As each color has its own unique message and meaning, the colors we choose to wear are a very personal expression of who we are and instantly provide a window into our souls. Color mixing especially speaks to one’s own personal creativity. And because color affects us psychologically and physiologically…not only does what we wear influence how we ourselves feel, but our color choices also immediately influence how other people perceive us.”

Individuality is the biggest trend today, and color is a big part of that, she pointed out.

“We know that in a world of information overload if we blend in, our voices will not be heard,” she said. “The result is that your own individual unique identity is the trend.”

Pantone chooses the Color of the Year after extensive worldwide research analyzing films in production, traveling art exhibitions, popular travel destinations, street style, lifestyles, social media and all areas of design. It’s meant to reflect global culture and consumer mood while spanning all types of design, from industrial to interiors.

Louis Vuitton

Pantone describes ultra violet as dramatic, provocative, inspiring and spiritual.

“Ultra violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future,” the company says. “Complex and contemplative, ultra violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now…


Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of ultra violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality…

“Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to ultra violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspires connection.”